Boutique micro brewery equipment

Private Beer & Cider Tour

Beer Brewery Tours Craft beer tasting

Craft Beer Tasting Flight – sample and compare styles

Private Beer & Cider Tour

Harvest Beer

With the wine harvest for V17 all but finalised, it’s a perfect time to share a piece on harvest beer. Enjoy a private beer and cider tour that showcases hops, with the hop harvest season at a close and fresh harvest ales now packaged.

If you are passionate about Boutique Brews, now is a great time to get on board a small group private beer & cider tour and embrace some of the amazing fresh craft beers on offer around Adelaide.

Hop Harvest

As autumn approaches every ear many winemakers eagerly await the arrival of this years fruit to craft into the new vintage. At the same time brewers are rubbing their hands together for the opportunity to brew with fresh hops.

Hop harvest is a time where, before hops are dried and packaged ready for use all year round, that they can be picked fresh and sold to brewers all over the country. This is for use in fresh or ‘wet’ hopped beers, also known as harvest beers.

Hops grow on bines which typically grow up to 3m tall on trellises and are harvested around the same time many wineries are picking grapes. The plant is a perennial and is trained up a string on these trellises, much like grapes. The harvest is typically over in all of 6 weeks, with differing varieties ready at differing times. Much like the vineyard and winery at vintage, hop harvest has its operational challenges.

Variety = flavour

There are well over 300 varieties of hops commercially available around the world and thousands are discovered as a product of breeding programs designed to find the next best new hop for brewers to exploit. Crosses of varieties are being generated every year in the search for new, interesting and unique cultivars with their own flavours and aromas. In Australia, roughly 20 varieties of hops are grown and sold commercially and each variety (much like grapes) offers specific and differing characteristics. Hops contain alpha-acids for bittering beers as well as essential oils which give beers some of their flavour and aroma. The hot brew is poured over the hop heads or the plant flowers, to give the beer its bitterness and reduce the otherwise sweet brew.

Most Australian hops express tropical fruit aromas and flavours such as lychee, passionfruit, pineapple and melon.

Exclusive boutique brewery beer tasting

Craft beer tasting on Tour

Brewing Wet Beers

Hops are normally picked, dried and then pelletized before they are packaged and stored carefully for sale and then used by brewers. Once a year however, some brewers  either travel to hop farms to collect freshly picked hops or have them sent overnight to use in their brewhouse.

It is this time of the year, by using these ‘wet’ fresh hops straight from the plant that they can produce a beer that is extremely special and unique. Wet hops lend a freshness to harvest beers, a grassy note or slightly woody character to the beer.

Harvest beers (typically ales) aim to feature the hop of choice as much as possible without too much malt or yeast character getting in the way. These beers are usually light pale ales of moderate ABV and will usually feature just a single hop variety, in an effort to showcase what each particular hop variety has to offer.

Growing Hops

Although Australian hop harvest volumes are small in the global scheme of things, producers have the ability to cater to the diverse demands from smaller producers, seen as a bonus for the craft brewing scene.

But the window of opportunity is naturally very small, with brewers planning to brew a harvest beer having to hop on the wagon quickly, as the hop farms in both Alpine Victoria and Tasmania wind up their harvest season and prepare for the growing season over winter and summer.

Harvest Beer on Tap

For the Craft Beer consumer, this means that this time of the year select boutique bars and brewpubs will be tapping harvest ales from all over the country, with almost every hop variety available.

One of our Shiraz & Co Tours Beer and Cider Tours is a great way to experience the best that the South Australian craft beer and cider scene has to offer. There are a host of award winning producers within easy reach of Adelaide, some even offer interpretive tours of the brew house or cider production process.

Tastings are available, making these tours a great and engaging way for visitors to try new beer and cider styles that are not normally available at the major liquor outlets or hotels.

Our tours take in the beautiful local scenery as we make our way through the picturesque near city locations, and lunch is specially matched to the beer experience at one of our wonderful local participating venues.

If you want to join in on a small group private tour and avoid the crowds, simply complete one of the Booking Enquiry forms on the website, send us an email at [email protected] or if its urgent and you want to get going soon, give us a call on 0411752062.

We look forward to having you join us and are always here to answer any questions you might have.

 

Full Day Wine Tours in Adelaide

Does the Wine Glass make a difference?

On our Shiraz & Co full day wine tours in Adelaide the question about glassware and the effect on the wine tasting experience is sometimes raised by guests.

When the focus of our full day wine tours is learning about the finer influences of terroir and trying new producers or varieties, making sure that nothing hijacks the adventure is important.

Most Winery Cellar Doors we visit on our Shiraz & Co Tours, particularly boutique producers closer to Adelaide, all have sensibly invested in the standard ISO Wine Tasting Glass. That said, a select number have chosen to invest in higher quality glassware.

That raises the question- Is it necessary to consider this on the day, and if so, under what circumstances.

The Standard ISO Wine Tasting Glass

The ISO (iso is “equal” in Greek, hence the ISO Standard) Wine Tasting Glass has to be the most practical product for this purpose ever invented. The fact that it is a standard is the key.

When most wineries use it, you can be assured the effect the glass may have on your perception of aromas and taste and colour will be uniform, from cellar door to cellar door.

The shape is an elongated egg, flat stable base, stem long and easy to hold. Quality is good, clear glass so that wine colours are not obscured with the bowl size ratio to opening correct. This allows the aromas to rise up and concentrate where they should for that all important sniff test. The aim is not to let too many of those important ‘lively’ aromas slip past you.

There are slightly different ratios recognised as ideal for red and white wines, but for a standard cellar door tasting the standard is exceptionally good quality and appropriate.

Quality, Glass and Crystal

Comments I receive on our full day wine tours and tastings also relate to the thickness of the glass, especially the weight and the feel of them. These are all perceived measures of quality.

To be fair, in the cellar door environment durability and cost are clearly a sensible consideration.
Glasses often get machine washed dozens of times a day, some are accidentally broken and maybe not so, go lost. The standard ISO glass is perfect for these environments.

For premium or private tastings where exclusive hand crafted, low volume, aged or museum wines are being poured, the delicate mineral or crystal glasses are more appropriate and appreciated. These add the appropriate level of prestige and authenticity to the product and keeps the components of the experience connected.

The mineral content; lead, magnesium, zinc typically, makes the material stronger and able to be spun much thinner, giving it a strong rim.
Many of these are not only expensive but also quite impractical to use for general multiple tastings. Stems are sometimes too short, and given the small 30ml volumes involved in tastings, much too large to be practicable.

Effects on Tasting Perception

The introduction of varietal specific glassware has added to the debate and allowed and encouraged us to vary the glassware to better match the style or type of wine. When discussing this with tour guests I liken the debate to coffee and tea drinking; cup or a mug or the fine bone china from Grandma’s cupboard.

In 2015 Tokyo Scientists developed a test that shows alcohol distribution at the rim of a glass and different shapes produced different results.  Since alcohol has such a hand in aroma and finish perception, this was notable. But alcohol levels vary amongst wines and given temperature has a significant effect on this also, means that perceptions are affected by many variables.

At blind tastings, there are clearly perceived differences when glasses are substituted. The impression of the wine may vary, but since for better or worse is subjective, I believe the ISO Wine Tasting Glass has the important bases covered.

I hope that this short summary of the role and impact of glassware when on wine tours and tastings has added some insight.

Full Day Wine Tours

If you would like to experience this yourself on one of our gourmet food and fine full day wine tours and put some of this glass theory to the test, we would love to hear from you.

For information, comments or questions simply call me on 0411752062 or email [email protected] or use the enquiry form on our website.

Regards

Armin

The Shiraz&Co Team

Cellar Door Wine Tasting

5 Cellar Door Wine Tasting Tips to get you started

When taking small groups of fun Foodies out on a full day Tour Cellar Door Wine Tasting and exploring our beautiful Adelaide gourmet food and fine wine regions, the question is sometimes asked of me;

“Hey Armin- what’s the proper way to taste wine, I’m new to this sort of thing?”.

Well, my take on that question is this:

A lot’s been written about cellar door wine tasting etiquette in wine mags and on websites, but the fact remains; you are TASTING wine, and hopefully more than 1, which you might not have tried before. Like any other food or drink you would have experienced for the first time as you’ve grown up, it should be an exciting moment of discovery, not self-conscious awkwardness.

I believe there are no hard and fast rules, the do’s and dont’s vary, but here are my:

Shiraz & Co Tour Top 5 Cellar Door Wine Tasting Tips

or

“The Shiraz&Co 5 S’s”

cellar door wine tastingStep 1 – See

Start by holding the glassware by the stem. A good habit to adopt so that you avoid affecting the temperature of the small sample and getting the glass greasy. I’m the No. 1 culprit of the “that must be your glass, look at all the greasy prints”.

Then hold it up and find some back light to illuminate the wine… (won’t see much for the greasy prints??).

Note the colour, intensity and how translucent the wine is. There are lots of factors which affect the visual appearance; variety, filtration, age and many more. But try to focus on just these 3 visual criteria, i.e. bright herbaceous green vs slightly cloudy pale straw etc. to begin with.

Step 2 – Swirl

Hold the glass and gently swirl the wine a little. Keep the glass flat on the bench when you first start to reduce the risk of ‘woops I’m sorry’, if you are like me or especially after the first few cellar doors.

Swirling helps release aromas as it gets the wine moving, passing more air over it. Some of the volatile components are released softening the wine a bit and it allows you to determine the viscosity of the wine more easily.

Viscous wine will cling to the glass. Watch the rate it moves down the inside of the glass as it returns to the bottom. The ‘legs’ or ‘tears’ people mention relate to the drops and streaks or runs that more viscous wines leave. This relates to alcohol and sugar content. It’s a known fact – too much alcohol can lead to streaks and that can end in tears.

Step 3 – Smell

This is where it becomes subjective, as aroma profiles are described in so many different terms. These vary from prominent to subtle, some more easily identifiable than others. The technical talk is primary, secondary and tertiary aromas, but this is more information than you may need to describe a wine you enjoy.

Like with food, we have favourite smells and particular aromas we relate to differently, some with fondness, others not so much. It’s handy to use the tasting lists to note down dominant aromas, as a reminder and guide for later. After tasting several wines, it is sometimes hard to remember and it is a great tool for food matching, where choosing complementary aromas may be important.

There are lots of chemical compounds involved, many with tell-tale aromas, some deemed advantageous and some not. Unless you are a wine maker, judge, collector or such, if you rate the smell as ‘pleasant’ or ‘not’, this will suffice I think.

Step 4 – Sip

Tasting is subjective again, due to individual preferences. Some flavours are more obvious than others, and the likeness references used are extensive, depending on your own repertoire.

Typical comments at this stage are in terms of describing sweetness, acidity and tannin characteristics. These are worthy of noting too, as they align with preferences and the information will often come in useful later. Comparisons can be made, conclusions drawn, and favourites can (and will) be chosen.

There is the issue of ‘slup vs sip’. That’s getting that extra bit of air to help with the taste sensations. This is again personal preference. Often parental advice about good manners when we were children makes this more uncomfortable than it should be. Try it I say, it’s more fun than you think. But avoid simultaneous laughing!!!

Step 5 – Spit

Spit is great when you consider total alcohol consumption, as it’s often underestimated on a full day touring and cellar door wine tasting. Also, the increasing alcohol level slowly deprives us of our finer sensory capacity, as the tastings start to add up.

Swallow is often the obvious and only option however, especially when the wine ticks all the right boxes, or as many of my guests call it “simply delicious” or “I could sit down here with my friends and drink a whole bottle(s) of this over the rest of the afternoon”

I hope the message you took away was this – drinking wine with good friends is fun and wine tasting should be too, and leave the serious side to the serious people…seriously.

PS: A Few Other Tips

Reserve Judgement

There is the belief that it is un-courteous to voice your opinion in an overly exuberant way (try that after stopping at 5 wineries) before everyone in the group has had their fair time to taste, contemplate and form their own opinion.

This has probably got something to do with behavioural psychology; the odd one out, go with the group, follow the leader and all that other complicated stuff. So taste, think and then share your thoughts freely. There are always the tasting notes or a helpful head’s up from the cellar door staff, advice about what you can (or is that should?) expect, which will help.

The Water

Most good cellar doors provide water to allow you to quench your thirst, rinse your mouth between wines or at least when you change from white to red or fortified, and to rinse your glass in some situations. It is also the polite way to stay with the group and sober, before you get drunk, as drunk is typically frowned upon by cellar door staff.

The Crackers

Feeling peckish?? As far as alcohol goes, tasting on an empty stomach is not ideal, but note that the crackers alone will not be enough. Try for a proper meal well before you start cellar door wine tasting. They are sometimes available and meant as a palate cleanser, as bland crackers help to get rid of lingering flavours where water fails.

I hope this lot helps. I would love to hear your feedback and hope to see you on tour with us one day soon.

To book a tour call me on 0411752062 or email me at [email protected]

Regards

Armin

The Shiraz&Co Team

Full Day Wine Tours

3 Hot Experiences on a Private Wine Tour in Adelaide

Private Wine Tours

One of the most practical ways to experience all our great and creative gourmet food and fine wine talent is to go on private wine tours. Whether it is an intimate day trip for two or in a small group, private wine tours are a personal engagement with the region where you can indulge yourself and your party.

Amazing Places = Amazing Experiences

Having participated in many Tourism Industry events, I can confirm that South Australia has become deservedly recognised as one of Australia’s leading Food & Wine destinations.

The state offers visitors a huge variety of class-leading and award winning:

  • restaurants,
  • wineries,
  • food and wine events and
  • artisan producers.

When it comes to freshness and diversity, our clean green environment and multicultural society has spoilt us for quality and choice.

The famous food and wine regions around Adelaide offer great year-round climate, fertile soils and a stunning outdoor lifestyle. It is here that our gifted chefs and wine makers are being joined by emerging artisans, crafting amazing experiences.

Their focus has solidly been on creating class leading new world ciders, beers and spirits, cheeses, chocolates and offering immersive and educational experiences targeting the food and wine tourism market.

Pairing these together on a private wine tour makes for some unequalled and unforgettable food and drink experiences to be shared around a table, many in some of the most breathtaking surroundings in the country.

Three Private Wine Tour Picks!

There are many venues and producers offering a unique and private wine and food experience in South Australia. This summary covers just three to highlight diversity and provide you with a taste of what is on offer on one of our Shiraz & Co private wine tours.

These tour destinations showcase an exceptional focus on embracing the wave of food and wine tourism that encourage visitors to get involved. These fine wine and food destinations champion the way, by offering meetings with the maker, promoting touching, tasting, testing of produce and fostering broadening of knowledge in an authentic and personal environment.

1. Mayura Station Tasting Room – Millicent

Mayura Station Tasting Room

Mayura Station Tasting Room in a Private Wine Tours

When it comes to unique and luxury beef, Wagyu is number one.

When it comes to unique ways to experience Wagyu, Mayura Station’s Tasting Room is at the top of our list. Here you get to enjoy the best of this $1000 per kilo beef cooked with love and perfection. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and indulgence.

Mayura have been raising the world famous Wagyu Cattle since 1998 on this iconic station established in 1845.  It is situated on the Terra Rossa soil that lends such depth of flavour to the Wagyu and the region’s award-winning red wines.

The dinner is an amazing event.  Ring side seating at the grill, a personal tutorial from the chef as he prepares and cooks about the station and history, a look into the exclusive world of Wagyu Beef followed by sharing in some of the most delicious and well-cooked beef (and local premium matched Coonawarra wines) on the planet.

We combine this indulgent wine & dine evening with a chauffeured Private Wine Tour weekend of Coonawarra Cellar Door and winery visits, with private boutique accommodation in the South East Region.

To find out more about Mayura Station Tasting Room visit their website here.

2. Casa Carbone Cooking School – Angaston

Private Wine Tours to Casa Carbone Taste of Italy

Pasta Making Class

When it comes to authentic Italian style cooking, Matteo and Fiona and their cooking school Casa Carbone is also at the top of the list of great private wine tour experiences in the Barossa Valley.

The “A Taste of Italy” cooking classes are small and very hands on, the ambience of the Enoteca just like Nonna’s kitchen. After an Espresso, it’s aprons on and into the kitchen classroom, with Matteo guiding you through ingredients and methods,  showcasing his favourite recipes passed down by family.

Learning to make pasta, Italian style, in the heart of the Barossa Valley with it’s backdrop of vineyards and quaint hamlets, inspires a sense of charm and tranquillity.  Matteo shares not only his skill as an accomplished chef but also his Italian heritage by telling stories about the food, culture and the ingredients, delivered with typical Italian passion.

The experience culminates in one of those perfect long table Italian-style lunches that we so often dream about. The delicious food crafted with love in the morning is matched with a hand picked range of wines, shared with the group of hungry foodies.

This private wine tour has you parting with a revitalised passion for authentic Italian cuisine, the skill and confidence to make pasta from scratch like a professional (you will never look at a packet of pasta the same way again) and maybe even the contact details of like-minded new friends whom you met on the day.

We compliment the Casa Carbone Cooking School morning with the leisurely drive through the region, stopping off at a few winery cellar doors on the way back to Adelaide, before dropping you off at the door of your Hotel.

For more information on what’s in store for you at Casa Carbone visit their website here.

3. Hutton Vale Farm – Eden Valley

Private Wine Tours to Hutton Vale Dining

Hutton Vale Farm Dining Room

The Eden Valley is the source of some of the best wines in the Barossa Valley region. John and Jan Angas have been nurturing their little piece of paradise, Hutton Vale Farm, and are now sharing this with small groups of lucky food and wine lovers.

This is another of those exclusive food and wine enterprises best experienced on a private wine tour. Hosts John and Jan believe in sharing their own brand of local farm style friendship, treating visitors like family. The old farm is as authentic and rustic as you can get. The focus is on providing guests with traditional style home cooked meals and estate grown wines,  the atmosphere warming and welcoming.

The Hutton Vale experience revolves squarely around what is produced on the farm; lamb, poultry, fruit, vegetables and wine of course. Much of their produce ends up in restaurants, loved by chefs.

A cellar door tasting and lunch or dinner in one of their rustic farm out-buildings is truly unique. Some of their guests fly in, using the air-strip, however if you don’t have access to your own private plane, the next best way to experience this food and wine oasis is on one of our Private Wine Tours.

The Hutton Vale Farm experience is best shared with a small group on a private wine tour to the region for the day. There will be time for visit a few winery cellar doors on the way, as we travel through the Valley on our way from Adelaide.

For more information on Hutton Vale Farm and what’s in store on this amazing private tour visit their website.

Tour Information

If you are interested in Private Wine Tours to the amazing Food and Wine Regions around Adelaide and would like to discuss a custom itinerary, including some of these unique experiences, please call Armin on 0411752062.

We offer transport options including:

  • limousines for 2,
  • luxury small groups of up to 6
  • midi buses for 20 persons

We can tailor the day to match your needs perfectly.

 

Wine Tasting – St Hallett Wines

St Hallett – Rowland Flat

It is hard to pass up St Hallett when setting out to enjoy some wine tasting. Established in 1944, St Hallett is a long time member of the Barossa’s “family” of vineyards.  St Hallett Winery has become well known for its Old Block Shiraz. St Hallett is another of those great iconic wineries to visit wine tasting while on a Shiraz & Co Tours day trip to the Barossa Valley.

 

Wine Tasting Barossa Valley Shiraz

Barossa Valley Shiraz

 

The winery provides tastings of some of the region’s typically bold and flavourful Shiraz. St Hallett is nestled at the foot of the Barossa Valley Ranges in the Rowland Flat sub-region. The winery sits at an elevation of approximately 290m, between Lyndoch and Tanunda.

Winemakers Stuart Blackwell and Toby Barlow have built the brands reputation around integrity by staying true to the Barossa’s heritage. The winemaking focus is on individual treatment to maintain the rich, intense yet diverse character of the fruit. St Hallet wines were showcased to an audience of wine enthusiasts at a recent wine tasting event at the Henley Wine Club.

Henley Wine Club

This week I attended the November 2016 meeting of the Henley Wine Club.  As a matter of course, the Henley Wine Club is a good show. This month’s meeting was special with a relaxed, informative and rewarding wine tasting of St Hallett wines.

The Henley Wine Club is hosted by Cliff and Linda Rothenburg ([email protected]). Club meetings are held on a monthly basis in the clubrooms of the Henley Beach Bowling Club.  The format is a tasting of wines from a different winery or wineries each month, a chat with the hosts and winery representatives and some gourmet nibbles.

All Hail St Hallett Wines

St Hallett was represented by Stuart Blackwell, the personable and prestigious St Hallett senior winemaker of long-standing.  Stuart presented a great range of wines with an interesting and diverse array of varieties, from easy-to-drink whites to the inkiest of reds.

Stuart presented the wines from the valuable perspective of the winemaker. We heard not just about their technical development but also the history of the company, the St Hallett’s ‘story’.  St Hallett scrubs up well as a wine company with great history, company philosophy, innovative wine-making and probably related to these characteristics, great wines.  Every one of the presented wines were winners.

History of Endurance

Two years ago St Hallett turned 70 years old. Read more about St Hallett’s history here.  there are many wineries and growers struggling from the effects When the Australian wine industry is in an extended downturn . St Hallett winery also has had its own struggles; described as at times ‘being on its knees’.  But the company is doing well at this time.  I suspect the latter has something to do with finding, attracting and retaining significant talent in its workforce.

Varietal Diversity

Reflecting on the wine selection at the wine tasting, it is amazing what St Hallett have done with varieties outside the classics.  Together with the Barossa/Eden Valleys’ standard bearers of Shiraz and Riesling, Touriga Nacionale, Mataro and Grenache (in Pinot-style) was on offer.

 

 

Wine Tasting Barossa Valley Wine Region

Barossa Valley Wine Region

 

At the easy-to-drink end of the spectrum was Poacher’s Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (with a touch of Riesling). This was humorously described as 60% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 12-14% Riesling.  I don’t know about your maths, but that’s definitely over-delivering!  At the inky end of the spectrum was Stuart’s signature creation Blackwell Shiraz, perhaps better called “Black-ink-well”.

Building Relationships

St Hallett procure fruit from interesting and/or talented providers.  John Dawkins, reformed federal politician of the 70’s to 90’s supplies fruit for the Dawkins Single Block Shiraz. Anthony Scholz, a grower from the famous Ebenezer district supplies the Sholz Single Block Shiraz.  Anthony is to be admired for his dedication to growing good fruit and for his outstanding approach to the way he sells his product.  His marketing focus is on forging strong relationships with winemakers.  He is ahead of his time in the way he markets his fruit and accolades should go to St Hallet for being among the first to respond positively by respecting the provider and his approach.

Great Wine Stories

There’s some interesting stories behind some of the wines also.  The ‘poacher’ behind Poacher’s Sem/Sauv Blanc is in fact Stuart Blackwell, who out of retribution, poached some fruit one season (way back in the wilder, old days) from a non-paying client for contract-crushing.  I hasten to add that Stuart came clean with the victim and then developed a great long-standing relationship with the offending, and then offended vineyard.  The story behind the Gamekeepers labels (tasted were Shiraz/Grenache/Touriga and Cabernet Sauvignon) was also related on the night. Unfortunately I missed this because I was expecting to hear that the Gamekeeper was named after the guy who dealt with the Poacher.

There are a thousand more stories at St Hallet to be heard over a great glass of their wine at a wine tasting.  A visit to the winery at St Hallett Road, Tanunda in the Barossa Valley is well recommended, especially on one of Sharon and Armin’s great Shiraz & Co gourmet food and fine wine tours. 

To learn more from St Hallet wines visit their website here.

For more information or to experience St Hallett Wines on a fun day tour itinerary call Armin on 0411752062 or email him at [email protected]

By Lawrie Stanford,

25 November 2016

Mc Laren Vale Wineries

Mc Laren Vale Wineries

Mc Laren Vale Wineries – 5 Top Winery Tour Options

When planning an Adelaide winery tour to one of our well renowned regions, it can be overwhelming with so many wineries to choose from. To level the field we have reviewed some of our top tour options for Mc Laren Vale Wineries.

Some winery tour operators opt for set itineraries, stopping at their favourite spots, convenient for some but not so for others.  At Shiraz & Co Tours we prefer to offer guests the freedom to have their food and wine passions and preferences considered, discussing options and negotiating the pace and type of venues visited.

Points of Interest

A diversity and uniqueness of venues which provides such a smorgasbord, each and every one focusing on individual strengths. These are influenced by factors such as size, heritage, quality, location, character, range, environment, diversity and others.

Visitors could take the easy option– short listing Halliday rated 5* facilities. Doing so may risk excluding some other gems with intimate and unique producers easily overlooked. Our recommendation would be to prepare an itinerary which has a balance of venues, so that all items on the wish list are covered.

Here is just a small sample of winery destinations in the Mc Laren Vale Wine Region that highlight the diversity on offer for a winery tour. But just enough to tempt you to come and explore them all.

1. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Samuel’s Gorge Wines

Mc Laren Vale Wineries - Samuel's Gorge Wines

Samuel’s Gorge Cellar Door

Great Location

Mc Laren Vale is a stunning region, geographically and climatically blessed. Wedged between hills and sea on a diversity of soils, it has something to offer every palate and passion.
A unique venue with breath-taking location overlooking the picturesque Onkaparinga River National Park in the Vale’s “Sea-view” sub-region is Samuel’s Gorge Winery.

The Samuel’s Gorge cellar door is housed in a rustic farm shed built in 1853 and the facility is as authentic and hands-on as you would expect. It perfectly complements the dramatic landscape surrounding the winery.
The wines are hand crafted focusing on the old world, just like the surroundings they have a traditional, rustic and earthy quality.

Hands on Philosophy

The winery is in the courtyard, using open slate fermenters, oak barrels and basket press. You could easily mistake it for an official heritage museum of wine-making, a clear focus on traditional methods is evident.

The wine brand’s image, a mosaic reflecting its unique Gorge location, perfectly sums up the philosophy of the team behind the business and highlights its unique sense of place.

For more information on this great destination click here.

2. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Oliver’s Taranga Vineyards

Great Service

Quality of service is one of those intangibles that contributes greatly towards the overall rating of the cellar door customer experience. Although there seems to be a generic model that serves most venues well, there are some which make a more enduring impression.

Cellar doors range from mass tourism affairs with almost supermarket like efficiency and processes to small, personal encounters where the focus is more on sharing a passion of a craft.

At Oliver’s Taranga the long family heritage shines through at the cellar door. The nature of the cellar door leaves you feeling like you have been invited to share in a glass of wine with friends and family. The small tasting rooms and nooks, the bar where you can sit and sip to you hearts content, all make for a very personal and intimate experience.

 Regional Knowledge

No excessive sales pitch given here, the wines are left to sell themselves, and this they do. Instead the banter typically revolves around flavour, aroma, personalities, preferences, perceptions and maybe the weather. Those that are interested to broaden their wine or regional knowledge are catered for, the staff are rich in local knowledge and love their wine too.

It is rewarding to hear tour guests recount their day exploring the region, reflecting on the personal encounters as much as on the special bottle or 2 of wine that they have collected during the day.
No wonder that Oliver’s Taranga was awarded 2012 Cellar Door of the Year by McLaren Vale Grape, Wine, & Tourism.

Follow this link to learn about the winery and their wines.

3. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Bekkers Wines

Precision Approach

Wineries range from small rustic affairs in sheds and back yards to mass production facilities of concrete and stainless steel spread over acres. The experiences are as varied as the labels and brands they produce.
Cellar doors are likewise varied, yet some strive to offer an experience which is more individual and exclusive than others.

Bekkers Wine’s Tasting Room offers a such a unique and personal experience. The private cellar door sits in a dominant location overlooking the Vale, an architectural statement of modern design, small, intimate and maybe even with a sense of indulgence.

Refined Wines

The philosophy which underpins the wine-making is reflected in the cellar door; cohesiveness, finesse, texture and precision are clear. These values are echoed in the ambience, service and wines of course.

The fact that their small volume production fine textured and refined wines are only available at select restaurants, merchants or by allocation reflects the exclusive nature of this cellar door and the product.

The knowledge that viticulturist and winemaker couple Toby and Emanuelle Bekker regard both their talents and the McLaren Vale region equally capable of producing world class wines, equal to those held so much in high regard from the old world, is reassuring.

Read about the Bekkers’ story and their philosophy by visiting their website.

4. Mc Laren Vale Wineries– D’Arenberg Wines

Great Range

There are several larger producers in the region, but for sheer numbers and prominence, DÁrenberg’s range and portfolio has arguably got all the bases covered.

If you are into quantity, then their cellar door provides some of the most comprehensive selection around. 60 wines made from 25 varieties over 11 different ranges; best to book an extended stay if you plan to taste your way through these.

The stable includes Icons, Artisans, High Altitude Hillbillies from the Adelaide, the Originals from the good old days (well known staples), The Outsiders, The Socialites, Nobles, Ancients, Supers, Stump Jumps and Limited Releases.
Although most are available at local liquor stores, restaurants and wine merchants, seeing them in their natural habitat is a unique experience. The cellar door is being upgraded so the experience will soon be taken to a whole new level. Like the philosophy applied to their wines, the project reflects the same level of enthusiasm, a challenge and ode to the complexity of the wine making process.

Awards and Accolades

Over 70 awards and accolades since 1990 have recognised what was already a long traditional family history and fine track record in wine making. Since 1912 the winery has been a pioneer, and the development of the innovative and stunning $13m 5 storey “Cube” cellar door, bar, restaurant etc. will continue this tradition.

For more on this great destination follow this link. 

5. Mc Laren Vale Wineries – Kay Brothers Wines

Mc Laren Wineries - Kay Brothers Wines

Kays Brothers Winery

Great Tradition

With a humble beginning in 1890, the Amery vineyard and undertaking that became the Kay Brothers brand has stuck to its knitting. Committed to Tradition, they have passed on deeply held beliefs from one generation to the next. This is epitomised by the history recorded by the owners of Kay Brothers Wines.

Kay Brothers have resisted the impulse to cater to the whims of changing fashion and focused on producing exquisite dry red and fortified wines. They have maintained a vision to defend the values of their founders to produce wines of classic quality in a sustainable way for 3 generations.

Focus on Sustainability

The winery has also had an enduring focus on sustainability throughout its long history. Not only by way of water and energy efficiency, but also lending continued support to the local community and the wine and grape industry.

Recent support for the arts by hosting chamber music events is continuing to foster this connection.

Kay Brothers Wines present amazing value and provide extended cellar potential, as they have always done. The wines are characterful and uncomplicated, a pleasure to drink now or put aside for a decade or more. It is reassuring to see such a continued dedication to tradition in such a competitive industry.

Read more about Kay Brothers Wines here.

Maybe these great venues appeal and you wish to build them into a full day food and wine experience. Please contact Armin on 0411752062 or complete the Booking Form.

We can’t wait to share them with you on your own personalised day in “the Vales”.

Adelaide’s Private Wine Tour Specialist

Private Wine Tours Adelaide

If you’re looking for a boutique food and wine tour for your group of family or friends, look no further than Shiraz & Co of Adelaide. Their luxury wine and food tours are specially designed to cater for the discerning wine lover and foodie who wants to experience the very best that the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale wineries have to offer — while avoiding the crowds.

Avoid the ‘booze bus’ wine tour experience

If you’ve ever been on a boozy bus tour, this boutique wine tour company is a whole world away from that! Imagine being picked up in a luxury limo or mini-van (depending on the size of your group) and enjoying a pleasant drive through the Adelaide Hills and on to the Barossa Valley.

A wine and food tour just for you

The day includes visits to a few select wineries that have been specially chosen by your host, and the owner of Shiraz & Co, Armin. Growing up in SA’s wine districts, working in the wine industry for many years, Armin has contacts throughout the industry. Which means he can definitely opens doors that you would normally never get to walk through.

Private tastings, tours of the facilities, a sumptuous chef’s tasting menu for lunch — it’s all just part of Shiraz & Co’s luxury wine tour service. Miles away from the madding crowd.

Shiraz & Co do their wine & food research

Armin and his wife Sharon have taken the time to research, select, visit and experience the most exclusive wine and food destinations to make absolutely sure they are authentic and inviting. The couple have a wealth of knowledge and they love bringing together the best of the best to create their luxury wine tours and delight their guests. Book a private wine tour with Shiraz & Co and they guarantee that it will be a day to remember.

A wine tour to your taste

No two private wine tours to the Barossa Valley or Mclaren Vale are the same — Armin and Sharon make sure that your tour is carefully designed to cater for you and your tastes in food and wine. So if you’re looking for a day out that’s extra special, for your partner, your family or friends, or your clients, to celebrate that special occasion or just to treat yourselves, visit Shiraz & Co and have a look at the very best private wine tours in Adelaide.

Then give Armin a call and have a chat about what he can create specially for you.

St Hugo Cellar Door Wine Tasting

Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations – Part 2

Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations

Hand Crafting Cheese and the Barossa’s latest bespoke Wine Tasting Experience

This is Part 2 of our summary of  Top Food and Wine Tour Destinations  near-to-Adelaide and a few more of our recommended places to visit while on a full day tour with Shiraz and Co Tours. Read Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations part 1 here.

We have a list of suggested themed tour itineraries showcased here, or if you have a particular interest we are happy to coordinate a custom collection of attractions and activities for you. Simply give us a call and let us know what is on your wish list.

Tours can be food or wine focused, or a combination of both, and with a great number of new providers now available we can incorporate ciders, beers, gin, honey, cheese, chocolate and more, all with great sightseeing along the way.

4. Culturing an appreciation for Cheese – Culinary Art Productions

Top Food and Wine Tour Destinations – The Art of Cheese Making

Pairing Wine with Cheese is a very traditional combination, one product enhancing the taste and enjoyment of the other. Wine and cheese matching has become an art also and we have a top food and wine tour destinations which focus on what goes with what, but here its all about making cheese.

Although there are several Cheese Wrights in Adelaide’s surrounding wine regions, the experience that gets some serious praise is the artisan cheese making class run by Culinary Art Productions at their farm and vineyard in the McLaren Vale wine region.

Milk straight from the Farm

Cheese making class tour

Milking Hettie the Goat

Here Lulu and Grace, cheese maker and affineur, direct small half day master classes in the art of cheese making. This is a true hands-on experience. It starts with the introduction to Hettie and her friends, goats to be exact, and ends with a long table lunch enjoying the estate grown wines and fresh hand-made cheeses.

After meeting and feeding the goats it’s time for milking. Everyone gets a turn and there is a real sense of achievement once you start to get the milk into the pail. Then it’s into the kitchen to make some fresh cheese with the still warm milk.

Quality control and hygiene are priorities so there are aprons and lots of washing and sterilising. Then the fun begins.

The language of Cheese making

Lulu and Grace get you familiar with terms such as lactic curd, fromage blanc, mould, bacteria, rennet, brine, lipase and culture. Then after a morning coffee break it’s on-wards with Haloumi, Fetta, Ricotta and White Mould.
Fermenting and curdling milk has never been so rewarding. The objective is to turn a fresh perishable product into cheeses which have a shelf life. No wonder wine and cheese have so much affinity for each other, they share a focus on process to build complex yet balanced flavour and aroma.

Hands on Cheese Making Class

Cheese Making Class

Grace also explains the art of ageing cheese, like cellaring wine, the art of the Affineur. The class is then treated to an international smorgasbord of soft and hard imported cheeses to put perspective on the difference age, storage, treatment and terroir have. Notable cheeses from the UK, France and Italy are discussed and their unique characteristics explored and contrast against what cheese makers are producing locally. Grace and Lulu highlight a list of go-to local artisan producers for those that want to get the scoop on exciting new cheeses on offer.

Long Table Lunch

Boutique Cheese Making Class

Long Table Cheese Lunch

The food is local produce based and made with love, mostly fresh from the garden. The class then get to share the cheeses made in the morning, some cooked some served fresh, all in a way to highlight their versatility. These are served with Estate grown wines chosen to complement the cheeses perfectly.

Simply delicious and even better as you get to take all the cheese you made home, including a recipe sheet and instructions so that you can continue your journey at home.

These classes have very limited numbers and are very exclusive, so bookings are again essential. This is a great way to see the Vales, learn a new cooking skill and taste some brilliant estate grown wines.

5. Bespoke Wine Tasting Experience – St Hugo Cellar Door

Top Food and Wine Tour Destinations – Premium Cellar Door Experiences

St Hugo Cellar Door Wine Tasting

St Hugo Cellar Door

The Barossa Valley has undoubtedly built a loyal following and serious brand credibility amongst the wine loving community. Serious integrity and history underpins the region, especially when it comes to premium red wines. It is a great destination with its large number of long established wine labels and cellar doors.

The Barossa Valley  has a number of notable premium cellar doors offering luxury tasting experiences. There are several on our itinerary list offering private hosted tastings.  Some offer tastings in exclusive tasting rooms away from the weekend crowds where you can connect with the premium, museum and reserve products in an intimate atmosphere.

State of the Art Cellar Door and Restaurant

Luxury Wine Tour Cellar Door

St Hugo Cellar Door, Rowland Flat

It is always exciting when someone adds another notable venue to the mix.

A recently re-opened historic cellar door, St Hugo at Rowland Flat has transformed an iconic local landmark site into a state of the art wine appreciation facility complete with tasting room and fine dining degustation restaurant.

This amazing venue offers a personalised approach to experiencing the premium St Hugo range of wines. The location speaks for itself. The creek, buildings and the view have heritage significance in the Valley, with the vine covered walled courtyard an amazing feature.

Exclusive tasting and dining experiences

Here you will be able to indulge in a menu of bespoke wine flights, private tastings in the Hugo Grant Bottle Room, Chef’s table lunches including a tour through the vineyard, inspecting the cork trees and kitchen garden, participate in a private tutored tasting in the cellar and chatting with the chef’s as they prepare your gourmet meal.

The renovation of the cellar door is in itself a work of art, the interior design focus being on finishes synonymous with the character of the region, highlighting the natural beauty of local stone and timber. Large picture glass windows bring the vineyard into the tasting room and add to the exclusivity of the tasting experience.

These exclusive tastings are by appointment and spaces are naturally limited. We recommend allowing a good half day to make the most of this location and to fully appreciate what this iconic brand is all about.

We look forward to sharing some of these top food and wine tour destinations and to spoiling you on your next visit or upcoming special occasion. We offer Gift Vouchers valid for any of our tours.

To make a booking simply:

Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations – Part 1

Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations

Opera and Wine, Sustainable Eating and Artisan Coffee

The handful of near-to-Adelaide tourism regions boast some of the top food and wine tour destinations in the state. Indeed, some are arguably amongst the best in the country.

A leisurely hour’s drive from Adelaide city puts you in reach of a smorgasbord of cellar doors, cafes, restaurants, markets and artisan food producers. Beautiful people food and wine; all wanting to contribute their individual stories as part of your personal journey.

With over 200 cellar doors in South Australia, it is sometimes a daunting decision just where to start on your gourmet wine and food tour.

Let us help you by shining a spotlight on just 5 of the 100’s of unique and wonderful food and wine destinations awaiting you.

This is the first part of ‘Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations’. Our 2nd part of ‘Top Food & Wine Tour Destinations’ will be here soon!.

1. Wine, music & drama – Top Note Wines

Cellar Door Top Note Wines

Cellar Door Top Note Wines

Igniting passions is something synonymous with the story of wine. Encouraging creativity and the setting aside of inhibitions have also long been ascribed as some of the benefits of the (moderate) consumption of wine.

There are a number of new generation winemakers who were not born into the industry, but who have adopted the art. Others have taken an existing interest in a creative pursuit and love of fine wine and combined them to embark on the exciting and challenging world of wine-making.

One of our top food and wine tour destinations to experience new age winemakers fusing these passions is Top Note Wines in the Adelaide Hills.

The creative people behind Top Note Wines

After years of honing their respective creative skills in Europe, opera singer Cate Foskett and her IT guru husband Nick were looking for a lifestyle change in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. A cool climate 24ha vineyard property tucked away near Kuitpo Forest planted to five varieties caught their eye.

As many a successful creative person will attest, it takes training and practice, practice, practice. The virtue ‘patience’ should also get a mention at this point.  So the couple enrolled in training, Cate in postgraduate viticulture and Nick in wine-making at Waite Campus. Armed with this new knowledge they have embarked on their journey together, producing their first vintages and recently opening their cellar door. Now all efforts are on perfecting their new found passion for making wine.

Quality Wine and Terroir

The wines we find are a true reflection of what motivates this wine-making couple. They echo the enchanting local terroir, embrace the benefits of the cool climate and altitude and are crafted in a way that reflects the essence of a true grand opera. As Wagner once proclaimed; opera is a union contracted like a perfect marriage between drama and music. So too are their wines a product of theatre and composition, artistically expressed fruit but with a serious side.

We look forward to taking you into the woods, so to speak, and introducing you to Cate or Nick at this gem of a cellar door.

A Platter with Top Note wines

We can combine it with a local sharing platter at the cellar door or local food and produce on either a Adelaide Hills or McLaren Vale full day tour.
A day of adventure awaits, there a so many more amazing unique places to share along the way.

2. Sustainable Eats – Hutton Vale Farm

Hutton Vale Farm Dining Room

Hutton Vale Farm Dining Room

Slogans of “Farm to Fork”, “Paddock to Plate” and my favourite “Home Grown” all conjure up raw produce taken straight from their source.  Better still if waved over an open fire and then served up on a slice of tree stump. Eating with your fingers is encouraged, adding that extra level of “Paleo” theatre.

Sustainable Gourmet Dining

Although we are happy to share such experiences, there are some just as legitimate but a little more refined. Foraging may be fashionable, but on this tour we focus on sourcing food that is grown sustainably and not all picked from the roadside.

Another top food and wine tour tour destination is the Barossa Valley at Hutton Vale Farm.

Fine foods since 1843

Tucked away off the beaten track, Hutton Vale Farm in the Eden Valley has produced fresh produce, sheep, cattle and grapes since 1843.  Sixth and seventh generation members of the Angas family continue to manage the business and ethically farm natural and environmentally sustainably grown produce.

They promote the natural environment and are proud to show you their large (2000 acre) bit of paradise on a personal walking tour.  This is truly an amazing experience, so exclusive, unique and engaging that small select groups of food and fine wine lovers from around the world even visit by private charter on fly in gourmet weekends, landing at the private aerodrome.

Free-range lamb and chicken with award winning wines

The star of the show is surely the hand prepared free-range lamb and chicken, matched with their own award winning release wines and home-made chutney & preserves. The kitchen and pantry are as authentic as it gets, rustic and unpretentious. The dining areas and farm courtyards and buildings simply enchanting.

Numbers are again extremely limited and bookings are naturally essential. A visit to Hutton Vale farm for lunch and wine tasting is truly an extraordinary experience and a worthy addition to our top food and wine tour destinations.

3. Grounds for discussion – Dawn Patrol Coffee

luxury wine tour coffee tasting experience

Coffee Tasting Flight

Artisan coffee is another of those historic fermented products that has become a popular experience. Coffee roasters have become another top food and wine tour destination on our tours.

Although there are a number of artisan roasters, there are only a small number which have a cellar door smack in the middle of a famous wine growing region, McLaren Vale.

We would like to introduce you to Dawn Patrol Coffee, our 3rd top food and wine tour destination.

Single origin 100% sustainable, traceable coffee beans

Established in 2014, the focus is on single origin 100% sustainable and traceable beans. If you have never researched the history and global business side of the growing and trading of coffee, it makes for some interesting reading.

In Kangarilla overlooking neighbouring vineyards the guys Dom and Nick grind and brew beans in a variety of methods to highlight the complexity and uniqueness of the beans. They relate what they do to their neighbouring wine makers and grape growers, talking about favour profile, complexity, terroir, farming methods and processing.

Be guided through the coffee roasting process

Like many new age winemakers, a lot of experimenting goes on in the world of artisan small batch coffee roasting and brewing also. The guy’s love to explain and take you through the process and the impact it has on the stuff in the cup. You can take part in the mini-masterclass and learn about the complexity of the product and tasting your way through a coffee flight. You can compare the differences between beans from El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama, natural or washed process and others.

They provide home-made baked goods to complement the great coffee and their cellar door makes for a relaxing break between wineries.

Read more in our second part of  top food and wine tour destinations to visit on a full day tour.

Opening times are very limited so contact us on 0411 752 062 or [email protected] to request adding these stops on our McLaren Vale Food and Wine adventure itinerary.

Luxury Gourmet Food & Fine Wine Tour - Maggie Beer

Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop – Great Barossa Tour Destination

Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm Shop

The Pheasant Farm and its Attractions

Growing up in a restaurateur family in the 1970’s, the story of the Maggie Beer family and their pheasants in the Barossa Valley still resonates personally with me.

Maggie Beer Farm Shop History, Food & Wine Tour Destination

Maggie Beer Family

It was an era when consumers began to expand their culinary repertoire and embrace foods previously only associated with fine dining.

What made Maggie Beer such a pioneer?

Maggie appreciated the power of simple food with flavour and embraced the opportunity provided her by her farm in the Barossa Valley.

Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop today is truly an amazing pantry and a testament to what can be achieved with vision and determination.

The size and popularity of the business lays testament to this success.

A humble kitchen now a luxury food destination

What a dynamic and bustling place this once humble restaurant has become, truly a must-see on a food and wine day tour adventure to the Barossa Valley.

Attraction on Gourmet Food and Fine Wine Tour to Barossa Valley

One of the many Pheasants in the Maggie Beer Farm Aviaries

It is like visiting your favourite Auntie or Grandmother when you were young. Invited by these great family cooks to help in the kitchen and let loose in the pantry.

The main attraction deservedly is all of the great produce that brand Maggie Beer has become known for.

However it is great to take the time to stop to enjoy the beautiful pheasants at the farm. The colours and beauty of these birds never ceases to amaze.

Another great attraction is the dam and the turtles that call it home. It is great to sit on the deck with a produce basket and glass of local Barossa Shiraz and watch these amphibians having fun.

Food and Wine Tastings

Gourmet Food & Fine Wine Tour Destination, Maggie Beer

Maggie Beer Farm Store

The Maggie Beer products have made their way into many a foodie’s fridge and pantry. They are great ingredients to add a little “gourmet” and a lot of “flavour” to a favourite recipe.

Maggie Beer’s Farm would have to be one of the more diverse and engaging open pantry tasting experiences on offer on the food and wine tour trail.

The focus is all on the experience. The range of condiments, dips, is seemingly endless. Once you get started it is hard to stop as you work your way around the many tasting stations; dipping, dunking, drizzling and trying all those amazing flavours.

The range from cellar and pantry, all using fresh seasonal fruit is diverse. Verjuice, Vino Cotto, Olive Oils, Chutneys, Stocks, Sugo’s & Sauces, Pastes, Jams, Biscuits, Relishes and Tea’s. The list continues, but that is why you should visit and try them all.

Indulging in a World of Flavour

The essence of the range of products is FRESH and FLAVOUR. Each taste of one of the many samples is all about authenticity and the individuality of the raw product.

The great thing about the Maggie Beer Farm experience is that you literally get to lick the spoon, lots and lots of them. But double dipping is not allowed.

The idea of offering hampers is perfect for visitors, especially to those from abroad or interstate. There are a multitude of combinations and there is the option to have them packed and sent home.

The Maggie Beer Foundation

The well-known Maggie Beer passion for fresh food with flavour deserves to be shared around, and be an inspiration to others. That is where the Maggie Beer Foundation has set its sights since 2014. The foundation is firmly focusing its efforts on the Aged care sector having identified that the industry could benefit from some inspiration and education.

The focus is about encouraging the industry to provide the elderly with access to full flavour food packed with nutrients rather than the bland fare that has become the norm. Maggie believes that no one group of people deserve it more and that meals should provide comfort and be looked forward to.

For more information, visit the Maggie Beer Foundation website and make a donation.  It is great to support an organisation which strives to embrace the principal that food has the power to bring joy and change lives.

Join us on a visit to Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop

Wine and Food Tour Destination

Deck overlooking Farm Dam

We schedule weekly small group gourmet food and wine tours to the Barossa Valley in our luxury chauffeured mini-bus and would recommend including a visit to Maggie Beer’s.

It perfectly complements the artisan food producers and great boutique wineries we visit.

 

 

To find out more simply either:

We hope to have you join us soon.